12 April 2013

Sudan: Bashir-Kiir Meeting Should Consolidate Ties, AU Chief Says

Photo: Sudan Tribune
Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir arrives in the southern capital of Juba (file photo).

Addis Ababa — The African Union has welcomed the visit of Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al Bashir to Juba as a crucial step to mend and enhance future ties between the former civil war foes.

However, the 54 member regional bloc said that the meeting between Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir should be used as a means to implement previously reached agreements.

Bashir last visited Juba in July 2011 when he attended the ceremony of South Sudan's official independence.

In response to an invitation from President Kiir, Sudan's Al Bashir arrived in Juba on Friday where he made remarks saying his visit marks a new era in cooperation and normalising of relations between the two countries.

The two leaders have also agreed to implement all cooperation agreements signed between the two states.

At the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, AU Chairperson, Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed the Sudanese President's visit to South Sudan stating the visit would provide a further opportunity to boost the progress achieved so far between the two sides.

"The meeting should be used as an opportunity to address the remaining outstanding issues between them", she said

The presidential meeting between will address the steps needed to implement a series of agreements reached in previous rounds of talks.

They will also discuss the key outstanding issues relating to the split two years ago, including holding a referendum to decide on the fate of Abyei and other disputes over the poorly demarcated border territories.

With regard to Abyei, Dlamini-Zuma urged the two leaders to agree to the composition and establishment of the Abyei Referendum Commission, and to resolve the final status of Abyei.

Dlamini-Zuma also called on both sides to "urgently agree to full implementation of the June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, with particular reference to the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, the Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Area Police Service".

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